What’s the foundation of your health?
Your immune system.
In order to have vibrant health and a vibrant life, your immune system needs to be iron-clad and rock solid – so that you can defend yourself against anything that may befall your health. Instead of living in fear of disease, building up the immune system empowers yourself and your family to take life head on!
So what are the best ways to build up your immune system, get your health back, and protect yourself and your family? Check out my tips below.
1. Eat more fruits & vegetables.
Research shows that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables builds your immune system, helps you live longer, helps you fight and prevent disease, and recover more quickly from illness. Many of us are walking around with many deficiencies that can cause and contribute to illness due to lack of nourishment for the immune system. Only fruits and vegetables contain these vital nutrients that can flood your body with what it needs to build its defenses.
Eating a clean diet full of fruits and vegetables contributes to a healthy gut, which has also been linked to your immune system. Eating clean and plant-based helps your digestion and helps you not get sick? Win-win!
- Eat raw. Cooked veggies are good, steamed is better, and raw is best.
- Eat a variety! This way you get a variety of nutrients. The easiest way to do this is to mix up your leafy greens! If romaine has always been your go-to, switch it up for kale or collard greens. If you’ve been committed to “Kale University,” try some bok choy, mache, or even radish greens. As you pass the produce at the grocery store, challenge yourself to try one new vegetable or fruit once a week or at least once a month.
- Go organic as much as possible. It’s no secret that pesticides negatively affect our health – and in particular, can make our hearts beat slower and compromise our immune systems. Less chemicals in your food will only help your immune system – and your health.
- Snack often. Your body was designed to quickly and easily digest plants, so snacking every 1.5-2 hours will help boost your energy, mental clarity, and reduce stress. When your body gets depleted of nutrients, it signals your adrenal glands to start pumping adrenaline through your body. This can contribute to adrenal exhaustion and fatigue, as well as affect other hormones in the body.
- Snack well. Reach for fruit and veggies (make an awesome homemade dip to make it fun!) to remineralize your system and soothe your adrenals.
What you choose to put into your mouth for food will directly reflect in your health.
2. Get proper sleep.
Your body does more than just repair itself at night – there are certain processes in the body that only happen during sleep. One of these processes is the immune response of circulating white blood cells, which help fight off disease and bacteria. If you shortchange yourself on sleep, you’re not giving your immune system the chance to fight off anything that could make you sick. If we keep doing this over and over, we’re breaking down the immune system. Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system and makes you more susceptible to viruses, and recommend 7 hours as the optimal amount of rest.
3. Clean up your environment and surroundings.
There are a lot of chemicals in our environment that we can’t control – but there are many that we can, especially within our home setting. Opting out of pesticide use for lawn care is an important one, as well as avoiding fragranced products. Using common sense practices, such as making sure your home, clothes, and hands are clean so as to stop the spread of bacteria and viruses picked up from outside, can also go a long way toward building the immune system. There’s a long-standing saying that exposure to extra germs will build up the immune system – but this actually is not the case. Extra bacteria will burden an already overloaded immune system, causing it to weaken over time due to the workload – and causing problems down the road.
Using nontoxic household cleaners, especially when children live in your home, can make a significant difference. I love Branch Basics cleaning supplies, and have listed a few others on my Resources page under the “Kitchen Tools”. I’ve also written about each of these topics extensively here:
- Top 5 Things That Cause Cancer In Your Home (and what to use instead)
- The Hidden Toxicity of Household Products – and Safer, Cheaper Alternatives
4. Stay hydrated.
Your body is made up of mostly water, and water is crucial to maintain a well-functioning body and immune system. Throughout the day, your body is constantly losing water – via sweat, urination, saliva, breath, and more. It is absolutely imperative that you continually replace that water – and then some.
Your lymphatic system runs side-by-side your circulatory system, and acts as a sewer system, collecting “trash” in the form of toxins, bacteria, viruses, debris, etc. from all over the body and directing it to the excretory organs so it can leave the body. However, unlike the circulatory system which has the heart as a pump, the lymph has no pump – and thus, we need to encourage it to keep flowing. A clogged lymph can cause a backup of bacteria and overload the immune system. An important way to keep the lymph flowing is to stay hydrated! This way, the lymph can flush out all of those toxins and bacteria out of the body and keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
These teas are a great way to get some hydration in, and have the added benefit of boosting the immune system!
You can find more teas under the “Teas” tab on my Resources page.
5. Take high quality supplements.
There are certain minerals and nutrients that our bodies need that just aren’t available anymore due to soil nutrient depletion and more. Even if it weren’t, many of us are in dire need of supplementation to overcome deficiencies that lead to a weakened immune system. Here are the basic supplements needed for a strong immune system:
- Zinc sulfate (I like this brand for adults, and this one for kids)
- Vitamin C
- Elderberry syrup
- Cat’s claw, which is a highly effective herb shown to have many healing properties but especially powerful at strengthening the immune system. (Note: if pregnant or trying to conceive, use lemon balm instead.)
I would highly recommend expanding your knowledge on these supplements and know how to get the most high quality ones – because Emergen-C from Walgreens isn’t going to cut it for you. I have written extensively about supplementation here, and have a “General Supplements” tab on my Resources page if you want to know which ones I have personally vetted for quality and effectiveness.
6. Get outside and soak up the sun.
Did you know that sunshine boosts your immune system? Research shows sunlight energizes T cells, which play a central role in immunity, and make them mobilize faster – thus allowing your body to defend itself more quickly against viruses and disease. Sunlight can actually protect from a variety of diseases, including many common cancers, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. In fact, avoiding sunlight can lead to the onset or worsening of disease, and increase any cause of death (all-cause mortality). To learn more, see this article.
A comprehensive meta-analysis at the University of Illinois, looking at hundreds of different studies on nature’s effect on health, led to the conclusion that spending time in nature provides protections against a startling range of diseases, including depression, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many more. When we are in nature, our “fight or flight” mode is turned off, and our bodies are able to go into “rest and digest” mode. This allows the body to devote resources to restore bodily functions, including the immune system. The growing trend of “forest-bathing” is supported by studies such as this one, which found immune function to increase while in the presence of trees in a forest and for more than 30 days afterward. Even if you’re not in a forest, there’s plenty of evidence that getting outside boosts your health in many different ways!
7. Have consistent, quality self-care.
Our culture and society values hard work, but there’s no reason to sacrifice your health in order to work hard. In fact, many studies point to the fact that the better you take care of yourself, the more effective you are at work. The balance and boundaries of work and self-care are important to establish for yourself – however that may look for you. If you are a parent, it is essential that you have self-care – even though little ones give us joy, they also come with a lot of stress. Since stress is linked to a weakened immune system, self-care can help relieve stress and provide renewal – thus bolstering your immunity.
Since “self-care” has become a buzzword, it is important to note that “self-care” does not mean gorging on a chocolate cake or staying up late to binge on Netflix shows. Self-care means truly taking care of your self – your body, your emotions, your mental state, your soul. This can look like soaking in an epsom salt bath, giving yourself a facial, getting extra sleep, reading a book, going for a run, meditating, or anything that is truly caring for oneself.
8. Put your phone in a different room at night.
Do you sleep with your phone next to you? Studies show it’s better for your health to avoid the electromagnetic field (EMF) it emits while you sleep. Prolonged exposure to EMF has been linked with higher rates of miscarriage in pregnant women and with contributing to the cellular process that leads to cancer. While the long-term health risks are not yet well studied, we do know that EMF from cell phones and other electronic devices affect human cells and tissue. Myself and many of my clients report better sleep and better health when sleeping without being next to their phone – and as we have established, sleep is an important part to keeping your immune system strong. You can find no EMF alarm clocks such as this one, or just sleep with your phone in the next room – or at least, across the room and on airplane mode (as proximity is related to the intensity of the EMF).I recommend giving it a try – especially if you are dealing with a chronic health condition. You can learn more here.
9. Research vaccine ingredients.
You’ve likely heard me or others encourage you to turn the package over at the grocery store and read the ingredients – and this advice remains the same for any product, especially one that is being injected directly into your bloodstream. You can read the vaccine ingredients here.
It should be noted that no vaccines have been studied for their carcinogenic or mutagenic potential or for their effects on infertility, according to Section 13.1 of vaccine package inserts. Yet, many of the ingredients in vaccines are known carcinogens (cancer-causing), such as formaldehyde and aluminum. The pesticide RoundUp (glyphosate), which has been linked to causing cancer has also been detected in childhood vaccines. Since we know that these chemicals can cross the blood-brain barrier, it is important to understand the risk they pose to our health and our children’s health.
Vaccines are purported to strengthen the immune system against certain diseases, but why do their ingredients cause direct attacks on the immune system? Why inject ourselves and our children with known toxins when research has shown that having these childhood illnesses actually provide health benefits later in life, including greater protection from cancer and lifelong immunity? Why are we taught to fear certain viruses or diseases and pressured to vaccinate against them, when there are thousands of viruses that we do not have vaccines for (that we are not taught to fear)? Having a vaccine does not automatically equal good health or solid protection. Regardless of your vaccination status, you will benefit from strengthening your immune system in other ways, such as the ones discussed in this article, to protect yourself from all things that could affect your health – including the numerous viruses we don’t have vaccines for.
It certainly should be every parent’s choice whether or not to vaccinate – but whether or not you do, it is absolutely crucial that you understand the risks, just like any other medical procedure. Empower yourself with an informed choice! For a detailed explanation of how vaccines work with your immune system, see this video by Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, PhD.
The Key To True Health
Those who have or have had a severe or chronic illness – or have watched family or friends with thus – understand the true value of health. Without your health intact, your life can fall apart despite massive success, fame, or achievement of all your dreams. Health is the true foundation for a vibrant life – and your immune system is the foundation of your health. Having a strong immune system is solid insurance against the many toxins, bacteria, and disease we may encounter in life. Following the basic recommendations in this article can strengthen your immune system so you are able to live a glowing, joyous life full of vibrant health!
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